The German brand’s Australian arm this week once again acknowledged its lack of SUV offerings in a market where these high riding options are growing sales at a rate of knots.
Pictured: New Volkswagen Tiguan
SUV sales are up 10 per cent this year and now make up 37 per cent of the total market, whittling away the market share of passenger cars to just over 41 per cent. But Volkswagen presently only has two offerings: the Tiguan and the Touareg.
“We don’t have the depth and the range that we need in SUVs,” acknowledged Volkswagen Australia managing director Michael Bartsch this week, before giving some hints at the company’s grand plans to rectify this by the end of 2018.
First will come the brand new Volkswagen Tiguan (reviewed here) in September, a larger and more practical offering than its segment-straddling forebear. This car will compete in the booming medium SUV market against the top-selling Mazda CX-5.
The bigger new Tiguan leaves room for a smaller SUV offering to compete with the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V, based on a similar MQB architecture to the next-generation Polo light car (and pitched as a budget version of the new Audi Q2), and sporting some stylistic nods to the radical 2016 T-Cross Breeze concept.
Pictured: Volkswagen Tiguan seven-seater spied
Expect also to see a larger seven-seater crossover, either the seven-seater Tiguan spinoff previewed here or the larger US-made model previewed by the 2013 CrossBlue concept (and inspired by the Skoda Kodiaq), to rival the Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Kluger. Additionally, there will the luxurious next-generation Touareg offering, which is also expected to take inspiration from the MLB-based T-Prime GTE concept.
The final piece in the puzzle beyond this core four (small, medium, large and luxury) is likely to be a more niche offering, perhaps a production crossover coupe based on the 2014 T-Roc concept, or a more practical yet style-focused offering as hinted at by the 2013 CrossBlue Coupe concept.
This new rapidly expanded SUV family will join the current crop of Volkswagen crossover models that includes the Golf Alltrack and Passat Alltrack, and will be central to the company’s long-stated goal to be a top-five player in the Australian market.
Bartsch said the company expected sizeable volumes from all its SUV offerings, stating that a sustainable volume for any core SUV in our market was at least 5000 units annually.